Plane & Pilot
Wednesday, November 30, -0001

Wings For A Wheelchair: Paradise P1


It’s strong, friendly, roomy and rigged for hands-only flight!


paradiseIn 1999, an up-and-coming drummer man named Dylan Redd had a terrible car accident that broke his back. Several major surgeries and two years of constant, sleep-depriving pain drove him to the brink of utter despair. Sheer will to live pulled him through.
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Although the P1 S-LSA is legally limited to 75 pounds of baggage in the rear area, that space can carry surfboards, golf clubs, skis/snowboards or those bronzed tiki torches you couldn’t pass up at the swap meet. And get this: Take 15 seconds, pop out the right seat, and there’s even room to sleep. The dual panel-mounted yokes leave the floor clear.

The experimental P1, certified in Brazil at 1,650 pounds, has a +4/-2 G-load factor. The tested ultimate load is more than +6/-3 G’s. The S-LSA version is built to the exact same specs. So, although an S-LSA can’t carry more than 1,320 pounds, the airplane is still stress-tested to the higher weight. Doing the math shows an ultimate load factor of around +7.5 G’s!

Noe’s Arc

Paulo Oliveira and Noe (pronounced “Noah”) Oliveira, although unrelated, are longtime friends and partners in the Paradise enterprise. Paulo and son Chris Regis run the U.S. distributorship, Paradise USA (www.paradiseaircraft.us), in Sebring. Noe designed the P1.

When Dylan asked Paradise about a hand controller, Noe’s ears perked right up. “He’s a creator,” says Paulo. “He thrives on a challenge—that’s his bag.”

So eagerly did Noe tackle the project, that—in spite of his other duties wrangling Paradise Brazil—he designed, built, tested and delivered the modifications in three short months!

“The most important thing for us,” says Paulo, “was the smile on Dylan’s face. He test-flew it, made some final adjustments and flew it home with his instructor.”

paradise paradise
Noe Oliveira tailored Dylan Redd’s Paradise P1 to fly with hands-only controls. The split brake lever pivots up from the floor (far left) and the console-mounted T-handle (middle) controls the nosewheel, rudder and throt
Was it difficult to design a hands-only control system? “Not really,” says Noe. “I feel very proud and happy to have created something that could make a lot of pilots happy.”

I ran my hands over the shiny carbon-fiber weave of the console-mounted T-handle and asked how the system works.

“Dylan requested the T-handle on his right instead of the left,” recalls Noe. “The T-handle has two functions: Move it forward for nosewheel right; pull backward for nosewheel left. The same movements work the rudder in flight. The top part of the T-handle controls throttle. Twisting clockwise accelerates, counterclockwise decelerates. So you have two movements in one control. There’s also a PTT on the handle for radio.”

Had I heard wrong? Wouldn’t moving forward/back for throttle and twisting left/right for rudder, like a home flight-simulator joystick, be more natural? I asked Dylan to confirm the setup. “No, that’s right,” he replied. “Although, now that you mention it, maybe it would have made more sense to move the handle left and right for rudder!” The important thing is the young man is adapting just fine.



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